Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It Happened Twenty Three Years Ago...

On Christmas Eve 1985, a young teenager named Joseph Hayes would experience one of the most horrific events of his young life. As he sat in the back of his father's liquor store, a cold blooded killer took the lives of both of his parents. Death reared it's ugly head only minutes later as the man fled the scene of the crime, pursued by the police cruisers. Innocent pedestrians would be mowed down, and another youth named Nathan Jones would lose his parents as well.

Thirteen years later, their story still lives on, in a story I penned called The Trifling Times of Nathan Jones. Fact, fiction or fairy tale? I get that question all the time. My response is always to tell the reader that it says fiction right on the book, so there should really be no question at all.

However, the reason that the question still lingers, is because we all know a Nathan Jones. We all know of a tragic tale that has happened, or a life cut short too early, that never received much media attention for some reason. Invisible Men can't be seen and they don't have voices. Many of the young African American and Hispanic men in our communities are casualties of a war that doesn't get CNN coverage. There are multiple enemies (many of which look just like them) and no resolution or talks of a treaty in sight.

So, thirteen years later to the day, here we are. The story is still labeled fiction, but unfortunately, his truth is still the reality of many young African American and Hispanic men.

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